Notes from a Spinning Planet--Papua, New Guinea

Published By: WaterBrook Press

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Travel

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Reviewed by Laura V. Hilton

Maddie Chase will be celebrating her "birthday-that-never-was" in Papua, New Guinea with her Aunt Sid, who is there on a journalist assignment. Maddie is a journalist major at her college and her Aunt Sid wants to help her with her dreams. Papua, New Guinea sounds a lot scarier than Ireland did (she accompanied her Aunt Sid there previously), but Maddie is convinced she can handle it.

The trip there is memorable. Her Aunt Sid surprises her with a couple nights stay in Hawaii before they go to Papua. There they enjoy the surf and sun, and also do further research on how unsafe Papua is for Americans--especially women. Not to mention, the AIDS epidemic there is at epidemic proportions. Will Maddie be able to reach out to the island people?

Notes from a Spinning Planet--Papua, New Guinea is written in first person, but is more telling than showing. At times it feels like it's a big information dump from all the research the author did on Papua, and it removed any life from the story. Still, it is interesting reading about a foreign country and about the AIDS epidemic there and how missionaries and other health professionals are trying to reach the people. I was interested to see what direction Aunt Sid's article about the country would take, since her boss didn't give her a specific angle to cover.

The faith message is woven in and isn't preachy. The setting is expertly described, including the varying colors of the sea. If it weren't for the flat characters, this book would be excellent. Nevertheless, if you want to learn about a different culture and the problems plaguing it, this book is good to read. Great for home-schooled students for their geography and social studies classes.

I would like to read the previous title: Notes from a Spinning Planet--Ireland, and the upcoming title: Notes from a Spinning Planet--Mexico.
Armchair Interview says: Unique look at travel to out of the way places.

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